Paintings by Neil Conrad


10" x 13"

went looking for this print recently, i had an idea what month it was from seeing it in the photographic record but when I dug out that pile of  prints it wasn't there.  tonight  I found it in a misc. pile i'd put it in;  it was on irregular stock.   reason I'd been looking for it was to make some prints and maybe even do a blow up of it.  for the moment I'm just really glad that I didn't loose the damned thing.



these are monoprints from the ancient era before I got back into the brush...  too revealing was my gripe.  didn't like to see that much about myself.  brush strokes were really annoying.  griffes were another matter.

somehow these were vague enough in relation to my personal narrative so as not to blow me out.  having things reversed and printed gave adequate distance.



the inside/outside

in between two pieces.  was shocked to find it in a pile last week.  it's not about cake.


cutting diamonds out of watermelon rind was natural enough process.


and where there's watermelon rind, there's some fool to print with it.


a revision.   there's always a story line.  pretending there is none is an invitation to make one up.  all roads lead to Rome.  continuity... what seem to be distortions occur so often that we automatically fix  them in what we think we see.  a face examined in minutia gives a full account.

this is another from the revision pile of last april.  more variety in line and less insistence on surface continuity has really opened this one up a bit.

chess on the mountaintop.

drawings 10" x 14"  (or less)


yu yu yu


just stretched a 46" x 50" sheet of paper, got it done without swearing or tearing. only taken a year of doing it  yea!   these sumi are from Jan '09. not big, 11 x 14.   it's about to storm  now.  what the hell?


got the iTunes playing Rachmaninoff, Humoresque .  the fire truck just taking off like crazy.  got to put some of these old ones up...  I think there's about 100 pieces from jan '09 ranging in size from small to extra large... that's when I really got over the monoprint phase and started using the brush again.  for a long time any kind of sustained effort was thwarted


the storm is passing to the south of us I can see on the radar.  I thought we'd get a good electrical storm but NO!  this one, well.  a bit more of a contrast... there's a good flash!  and close too.


for a little drawing there's certainly a lot in this one.  kind of strange to look at these now because I have trouble accounting for much of what I see in there.


went to see the William Kentridge show at MoMA before it closed earlier in the month and was seriously awed by the force and presence of his drawings.  you can find the films on youtube...  I'd seen The Nose at the Met;  Nothing there really prepared me for the impact of this show, maybe because I was not really expecting much, but that hardly works as a rule.


mi mi mi


12" x 12"

been trying to get this up for some weeks.  I think it's from march.  there's one that goes with it, and it's even better but I don't really know where it is.

12" x 12"

okay,  here it is.  not the most flattering photo but I guess it'll do...  this is a straight monoprint;  no brush on it at all.  unusual for me these days.


11" x 14" (et al)

I don't think this has been put up yet.  there's a degree of transparency and a lighter mood than some of the other stuff on here lately.


ink ink ink .....  oink!


this is actually from this week so it pretty much makes everything else feel historical to me at least.  nothing else in this post older than March...  I guess that's a long time ago.


rolling fire

revising can be a disaster but what can you do if it just doesn't work?  a stack from april 09 begs for some careful attention.  I got lucky here.  the thing was too dark and needed a little more contrast.


New looks better no matter...  well.  hope that continues to be the case...




this one's fresh.  from the last hour.  had a meditation reminded me I have a heart...  Damn it!  going to hear Flavio Biondi lead Europa Galante this evening at Zankel.  Corelli and Telemann and Sammartini and Nardini and Locatelli.


behind city hall.  under the bridge.


like to lighten it up a bit here with the Mexican Hat Dance


flowing into the lake where the fish bite





tick tock tock clock.


this one's kind of scary.  still life with death mask.  It's from a frightful time last year when I had some phobia about flying.


no way to really appreciate this one on the blog.  first of all, it's 22" x 30" so the scale just changes everything.


color----  an appreciation


decided to cut the corner off the edge.  It's not right but I did it anyway.  I haven't read Becket, not in a long time.  I saw Godot last summer, two bums and a burgher.  it hardly felt like the greatest play of the XXth century.  Better than Thurber Country or The Crucible but not something to get excited about.  kind of a commentary.  The Chairs of Genet is 10 x more disturbing but feels like what happens and not the idea of what happens.


once on a trip to Ireland I went off by myself and went climbing on the rocks by ocean.  I stood on a rock I'd reached under a cliff and sang for a while.  there was a good acoustic with the rock and the water. the tide came in and I had to take my shoes off and roll up my pant legs.  I don't think anybody saw.


John Marin figured big in my art appreciation course but I must say that it took me a long time to much appreciate him.  it goes against my basic expressionist excessiveness.  and the level of detachment makes me a little bit uncomfortable.


last minute.   I just envisioned color going into the drawings.  my stomach is growling.  I'm seeing color fields with drawings over them.


I thought my heart was untouched but now finding out what it really is... yikes!


Been listening to Tristan und Isolde lately.  it's so beautiful.  it really really sucks.





there is no bridge per se.  working has become the bridge.  maybe the bridge is posting.  tempting to say things are connected and then try and prove it... unity  prevails.  a monumental collapse.  rest apart.  separation.  this calls for wallpaper wallpaper wallpaper wallpaper


was listening to legendary Belgian violinist, Ysaye on youtube playing Fauré and there was something about his sound that was surprisingly simple.  the focus of his attention was on the expression behind the sound.  so easy to get caught up in things the other way around and then try and back it up.  there's a possibility of getting stuck in a hat too small.   I  was thinking that some how these things seemed like the biggest revelations I'd encountered in the sumi.... like/unlike/like/unlike/like/unlike..  now they look like revisions.  I just been working on some panels from november a year ago.  once I get into the revising mode, there's any number of things that are up for grabs.


work on thes revisions from dec. has been slow, not a big enough pile to generate a sense of urgency, and now there's fresh work of 2010 that needs to be kept separate.


this is from Dec.  it reeks of revision. DSCN1419\

this new one was the reason I started the post in the first place and now I can't really tell what the reason is for posting it.  these last 2 are new.


there is a bridge in this one, I forgot.  I thought I really liked this one partly because it was the first of the year, but mostly because I didn't understand it.  I understand it less now.  and don't know if I like it.  not a bad thing from the artist's point of view.  too easy to get caught up into doing things that I'm liable to like.  kind of like always making love to the same playlist.  Mozart again?



DSCN1258investigation, complication, explanation, explanation, explanation.

complication, explanation, investigation, investigation, investigation.

explanation, investigation, complication, complication, complication.


the thing about the card design.  kings and queens and jacks and aces.  clubs and hearts and spades and diamonds.


dancing and eating and studying and shopping .


seeing if this one looks like anything on the site.  smudge.


now there's nothing wrong with painting dogs and cats.  and puppies and kittens.  and rodents. and the owl thing is really something that I can't resist doing some more of... I had a friend once that collected owls.   she had a black cat named Owl.  I never thought that Owl was so special.


did a bunch more work this morning.  well, some more work.   I've got to wait for the sun to photograph them I think.


this piece could be upside down.  not sure what to do about that?  I'm going to post it this way because it's up like this... I think if it was really going to be going the other way around I'd have already figured that out by now since the thing has been around better than a month now, been thru revisions, all that...





Don't sit on the edge of the table, I'm not sure all the legs are solid.  there's no shortage of symbols of surfeit in the neighborhood these days, certainly a six inch tree in a pot says a different thing than one the one 20 feet tall that was felled in a forest the other day.  can't deny being wowed by excess.  or trying to put on a huge spread myself,  ouch!


staying out of the way of the process, it happens every once in a while.  nothing really said it was completed until I looked at it later.  these first two pieces are separated by nearly a year.  I'm so going  backwards.  I could still put lines in the one on top but not the one beneath it.


some/most/few/all... the great equalizer.


the scale of this image is about one quarter of the original.  or if you're looking at this on your iPhone or Blackberry it's really much less that that.  Hard to say what's going to come across in that but I can say that I've painted this scene at least twice before and the mood is more playful here than in paintings of the past.


should this clown have some eyebrows?  they'd probably look painted on.


Stopped in front of Film Forum this evening and  watched some guy buying a ticket for a ballet movie.  Wide brimmed hat and tweedy topcoat, English shoes, he looked like he was out of a Robertson Davies novel. a nonconformist conforming to the dress code of the past as my friend so aptly put it.  at any rate, he did look Canadian.


Ladders and smoke.  recognizing how I've bought into a pattern of grandiosity and hype that crowds out even the possibility of honesty.


when there's really a separation and a synthesis, sometimes I want to see them both.


none of these photos have much in common with the originals.  the vibes are different.  takes some getting used to.





Went to my friend, Steven Corsano's opening at OK Harris.  he's been a great inspiration to me in the year or so that I've known him.  the stuff they're showing is from his august on Long Island.  deep secure connection to his experience.


finishing up with november (like it's not already over) and I've dated oct.


of all the things that came out of the holiday weekend, my fave is this slim little drawing.  dancing  chocolate circus characters, wind up wild beasts.  I did some monoprints that are choice but they don't look so great in a photo.


about choked on some chinese pepper oil


I'm looking for another piece and this is the closest thing.  not it.


this really has nothing to do with truffaut but just want to mention how much I love his movies.


getting off the rainbow curve


after days of leaving off the sumi ink,  I looked thru the 400 or so paintings of aug/sept/july.   it brought on an outburst of hyper-activity, the need to make some drawings

flea circus


I turned this one around a couple of times.  the visible peach.  see thru.  Saw a Mirò sculpture in about '70 at the Walker (first time I saw 'Lunar Bird') he'd had a pit enlarged to a six foot monument.  Killer!  nothing whimsical about that.


the point of this post is to post... not to just delete everything and start over.


the point of painting them was to post.  well.  I don't think so!


i was thinking never to show this one ...  cry me a river.


why should anything be excluded given a desire to communicate?


this looked like it needed to be revised until I  saw it on the screen.  not so unclear as I thought.  but really pretty nebulous. that's not contradictory.


no one forced me to paint this.  no one forced me to post it.  If someone did I've have to learn you about it.  trying to explain any of this is not just a challenge, it just plane sounds really silly.


got a nose full of bad perfume, I think I learn the most from my nose...




in the bar/restaurant getting acquainted with the co-workers after a really long shift at another bar/restaurant.


the first of the month marks some kind of a change in the sumi, and if there isn't one, I'll force it just on principle.  November was pretty light in quantity.  I'd go into the health of slowing but I'm not sure I buy that less is more crap.  seems like the more I work the better the chances of getting something good.  or something revealing.  that's the priority.  painting pretty pictures is a bore.  I want to find something out.  something that I didn't even suspect.  It can take some time on that,  understanding what's in the thing  but I like new work whether I understand it or not.  and just to see something new.  Like coming home from shopping.  there's tons of work that no one has ever seen besides me.  like having a closet full of clothes I've never worn yet.  I have that.  Blogging helps.  but it's kind of a struggle.  Hard to know what to write, what to cut, what pictures to post.  there's so much that I want to put up from the last 4 years.  8 years...  15.


this drawing is the opener for another post I've been cutting and augmenting for days now.  after starting the blog and the color my rhythm and pace is off.  putting stuff off.  finally dated the oct drawings.  yea!  only thing left is Dec of '08.  there's 200 pieces.  I just bundled them like bad mortgages.  some of the best things in there.  some really raw.  I keep delaying.  I have to force myself to post drafts.  never satisfied.  this is a new post so I can continue revising the old one.  that's gotten to be the theme lately.  Revision.  I remember calling this kind of behavior neurotic.  it's not really...  not when I do it.


some of these drawings won't mean anything to me until I've looked at them for a while.  I shouldn't tell anyone things like that.  neither should you... you shouldn't be looking at this site...    you should be ashamed of yourself.


end of the month revision,  the color, well,  people were so thrilled that it got to be a priority.  me too.  now i could care less.  that's what I'm telling myself.  I think I saw too much in one of the paintings.  don't want to talk about it.  That happens with the drawings too but I've gotten used to it.  seeing it in bl & white.  seeing it in color is a whole other matter.   I like to do the sumi ink so much.  I did a piece that was a drawing in color.  it's a real first-class turn off.  I haven't touched the acrylics since.


the print didn't seem to need much so I tried to hold back.  but that was just temporary.



red ground


these paintings are large...


john gay


the wretch of today may be happy tomorrow.  getting multiple spammings.  changing the name of the post seems to stop them from getting on here.


mention of Lexington was the tip-off.  His wife called one noon hour and said he died in the hospital in Lexington.  My dad seemed like he was crushed but kind of expecting it.  they were best friends from art school...  I think he was the star of the class.   they alluded to some kind of connection between paint and drugs.  my fourth grade imagination pictured him sniffing the  turpentine.  I suppose that guy was into dope from the time he was in art school.


Trying to accept that a lot of things don't really need to be micromanaged.  and some things happen all together perfectly on their own accord.  the credit for what's happening, how does that really work?    there's a lot of ways of fooling myself that I'm gonna get what I want.  and giving myself credit.


how much worry is enough?  worry worry worry worry worry worry worry worry worry worry worry


never know what bird I'm going to hear first in the morning.  a crow maybe.   Sometimes it's just a robin clearing his throat. and then I don't hear anything til after sun-up.  occasionally a magpie shows up and puts on a concert.  was kind of windy this morning, nothing this morning.


Dreamt I tried to play a Mozart Sonata for some people at a fair in a square.  I remember they were oh so happy w/what I'd just played and wanted something more...  and I also knew that to attempt this piece was bad judgement.   the wrong concept... brain melt down.  couldn't remember from one passage to another.  disaster.  some nice person gave his condolences.


'Beauty can't be recognized with a cursory glance.'  then again... if there's nothing surprising about a piece, doesn't that mean that it kind of sucks...


well.. this makes me think of  the park near our house where we use to play.  not into putting kids in or playground equipment.  or dogs either.


was fooled by the tiles in the subway for so long.  in Times Sq. there are granite tiles.  but most of the tiles in the stations are composite...  I was convinced until I looked at something I'd noticed a number of times before.  Bent tiles.  pretty sure the Granite ones don't bend.



non legato


Heard a lecture last week purportedly about The Nose,   my nose was asking who stepped in doggie doo, checked my shoes.  I was good.  How's that for sometimes?  I'll just dispense w/the obligatory crap here, this seemed like a break-thru last summer.  For a minute I thought I was Napoleon.  Cyclops sans née


the revisions were going along fine but this is not a revision.  I've stopped with the sumi revisions.  now I'm just revising the text.  revisions are not making it into this post so far. every time I load one I cut it.  at least 7 loaded and after I've managed to write some  dopey copy, It's hard to revise when it's really just crap.  they all have gotten cut one by one.


What the hell?  some kind of a bad dream?  the turtle is out of his shell.  this is from some time in october and got revised last week?  I wasn't going to post any of these... HELP!!


the walk-in cooler has a special place in the hearts of many a restaurant employee.  a cool place for a few second of solitude, maybe undisturbed screaming, or a breathless tryst post haste.  that would make an excellent story.  too bad I'd have to make one up.




yesterday I did the Chelsea art crawl.  what I saw:  Richard Serra...  loved it.  padded thru a maze of milled steel--- it reminded me of my year of life on a cruise ship.  David Hockney... 50/50  Lion King of the Road.  tropical-vivid renderings of some very sober settings.  I think that's why Van Gogh went to the south, but David shines a light of his own on everything he sees, some are fun and fanciful, some are deeper than others.  Moo Kwan Han...  cheerful and thoughtful videos about love, travel and politics.  I met him and he said i smelled like an actor.  He smelled like an artist (actually, he smelled quite distinctly of himself in a good sense.  he seems very honest.)

I've been getting into stones more lately and meditating on them, I think this one is about finding more space and breathing room on account of the stones.  In a crystal arrangement way.   I'll call it 'the pyramid' to keep it real here.    DSCN1084

this still life has to do it's arguing all on it's own.  Half full or half of a half?  Often thinking about Morandi when I attempt these things, like when I worked with numbers I fantasize relationships between the subjects hoping there's some kind of a story will emerge.  this one feels a bit less decorative than some in the past.


'foreshortened vases' harkens back to 'oblique'.  things tip over or just get set on their sides especially if they're in danger of being knocked over...  the background is a poor excuse... observers and mourners look on pretending not to be interested and maybe they're not...


was listening to Rachmaninoff.  the Prelude in C# minor....  love it!  the first chords sum up the piece, the next phrase moderates the intensity of the main theme (not where I would have the piece going) and then it continues on circling until the restating of the theme.  and that's it... it's a Prelude....  no big deal.  Songs can't really do that kind of thing right up front.  I digress.  A painting can make a statement up front and then argues it logically or emotionally to the point of  capsizing or busting it. DSCN1087

Climbing a hill affords me the chance to clear away the minutia and indulge in the grand vista of my narrative process.   who has come before me?  how far have I come on the perilous path?  Is my bunion going to start bothering me on the way down?  yea!


Radiohead.  there's never enough noise to drown out the nonsense I'm thinking.  I love to paint to music, in the 80's it was bad jazz and whatever else was playing on the micro-station in my neighborhood.  In Antwerp my favorite station  Radio Zuidelijk played American music from the 50's... I felt like I was a boy again in the barber shop in Bismarck.  that was oldies fare by then.  Electronica figures big in my sound track now.  and Wagner overtures, anything truly grandiose.  yeah,  Radiohead.


monster sumi

ink on paper 52" x 46"

ink on paper 52" x 46"




seeing my site has come up on FGD twitter feed I thought I better post something right away.  I'll shoot something from yesterday or maybe this morning after I get some lunch.  this is a few weeks old and was done when I'd gotten over the color phobia.  I've used a brayer to print on the page and then painted over it.  I'll talk about that more later.  the simplicity of the paper is really kind of a relief, I get so crazy trying to find the right color for the ground.  the last ones I made were black just so I wouldn't fret about it.


ink in the midst


this piece was one of the few in ink from the latter half of oct when I was busy with the acrylic, not so adverse to subject matter in this piece.  I've thought about making color paintings from drawings such as this but when I get to the paint I opt out on an improvisation.